Clearly it’s ‘Dick Gordon show,’ says Aquino on Dengvaxia draft report
“What should we expect from the Dick Gordon show?”
This was how former President Benigno Aquino III reacted on Wednesday on a draft report by the Senate blue ribbon committee recommending his prosecution, along with other former officials, in connection with the botched P3.5 billion Dengvaxia vaccine.
In particular, the draft report recommended the filing of charges against Aquino for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
But Aquino, in a phone interview, insisted that when his administration decided to purchase the dengue vaccine, they were not aware of its supposed danger, which was only disclosed by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur in November 2017.
The former leader pointed out that the fund for Dengvaxia was obligated in 2016 or a year before Sanofi warned that the vaccine might be potentially harmful if administered to individuals not previously infected with dengue.
“Kelan ba na-obligate? 2016. Kelan nag-warn yung Sanofi? Ano yung sinabi nila ng umpisa ? Wala yan downside na yan, walang danger,” Aquino said in a phone interview.
“Yung sinasabi ngayon e baligtad sa sinabi noong araw…,” he said.
Aquino also denied anew the draft report’s finding that the approval of the Dengvaxia funds was done in “undue haste.”
“We were waiting for this vaccine as early as 2010 or for that matter we’re waiting for any other tool that can be used against dengue,” he said.
He explained that the allocation for the vaccine would have expired if they did not utilize it before the end of 2015 and there was no assurance if they could request for its funding in 2016 since it was an election year.
“Therefore, the choice would have been: Do nothing or do something,” Aquino said. “And if we didn’t do anything, yun naman ang panibagong ikakaso sa amin dito. You had this available and you denied the Filipino people the protection …”
Asked if he thinks Gordon’s panel had been fair to him now that it has released its draft report, the former leader asked: “Sino bang panel ni Senator Gordon?”
“Kaya nga Dick Gordon show…” he added.
Gordon said he has yet to route his draft report to committee members for signature before it could be transmitted to the Senate plenary.
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